U.S. expected to fail July 4th vaccination goal, AZ lags behind

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The Biden Administration set a goal of getting 70% of all adults in the country vaccinated with at least 1-dose of a covid-vaccine by July 4th. But the country is unlikely to reach that goal and states like Arizona continue to lag national averages. We talked about all this with former state health director Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

Humble said that there’s two reasons to be concerned about the Delta variant, both locally and globally. In Arizona, a primary reason for concern is that the Delta variant is much more transmissible than the Alpha variant, or what was dominant in December, January and February. It poses a potentially serious danger to those who aren’t yet vaccinated, such as children under the age of 12.

“The vaccine uptick has been really disappointing—we’re about 43rd in the U.S. in vaccines per capita,” Humble said. This, in tandem with the Delta variant’s increased transmissibility, means that the state is ripe for transmission.

Humble added that he doesn’t anticipate a hospital crisis like what the state saw in January or February due to the current vaccination rate, but it’s concerning nonetheless.

He also said that vaccinated individuals can potentially remain unmasked, so long as they aren’t immunocompromised. Breakthrough cases, or instances of vaccinated persons still testing positive, are about where they were in the clinical trials for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“You’ve always heard that these vaccines are about 95% effective, and what that meant effectively is that there’s about a 5% breakthrough rate,” Humble said. “But, the people who do get breakthrough cases really have a mild course of illness and a lot of times don’t even know that they have it.”

Humble also said that Arizona won’t make it to the Fourth of July vaccination goal. “Many states have, Maine made it a long time ago,” he said. He finished with saying that we might not even make it this year with the current rate in the state.

Will Humble, Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association

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